GameCube is an all-time classic and perhaps you miss the fun of playing your favorite Nintendo video game. You might have the old purple console but perhaps you don’t remember where you put it. Thankfully, installing a good emulator either on a smartphone or a PC solves the problem.
There’re several emulators of GameCube but only if you intend to play on a PC. If you plan to emulate video games on a smartphone it all comes down to one option: Dolphin. The Android version of this emulator is the only compatible with most games available for the GameCube console.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on a detailed description of the main features and characteristics of the Android version for Dolphin. Plus a quick review on an emulator not listed on the 26 Best Emulators for Android, the DraStic DS emulator.
Dolphin Emulator – A GameCube Emulator for Android
This emulator carries the name of the original prototype that later became Nintendo GameCube. It allows you to play both GameCube and Nintendo Wii games and although it´s still an alpha version, it works fine in smartphones with Android 5.0 or better.
To install and run Dolphin you need devices of 64 bits and able to stand video backend OpenGL 3.1 (or newer). Anyway, don´t be too concern about this technicalities. Just install the app and if you don´t get any error message, you´ll be fine.
These are Dolphin most relevant characteristics:
Downloadable from either the app store or the developer´s website. Make sure you get the newest APK version since the software is updated constantly.
Easy-to-use interface. Notice the symbols for both the GameCube or the Wii emulator and a purple button with a plus sign on (lower right corner of the app) for adding games.
Works perfectly fine with ISO extension files, although other formats are also accepted (GCZ, CISO, and WBFS). Make sure your game file is compatible with the emulator, otherwise, it won´t work.
It´s important you own the original GameCube game since it´s illegal to download ROMs made from third-party copies. Get your own and ask a friend with a Wii console to convert it installing the Homebrew channel and an app such as CleanRip.
It also has a configuration panel for general settings. For example in this setting window always make sure CPU Core is set to JIT ARM64 Recompiler and the Dual Core and Override Emulated options are checked.
Also, modify the emulated CPU clock speed to allow a better fps rate. Hopefully, values between 40% and 100% will allow up to 60 fps, which is good for most games.
The speed limit can be set to 100 %. All the other settings you´ll see in this general menu can be left as they come. Remember always to click on the floppy disk icon, on the right upper corner, to save these changes to the INI files of the emulator.
There is also a configuration panel for visual settings. We suggest you configure them like this:
- Video Backend must be OpenGL. In case you have installed the Vulkan API you may try to select it from the menu, but I´m not sure if this technology is already implemented within the emulator. Try it and give us some feedback on the comment section below.
- Set the Shader Compilation Mode to Asynchronous (Skip Drawing). It´s proven to make most games run smoothly.
- Set Aspect ratio to whatever you like. You might want the image to be stretched to occupy the whole screen or perhaps a smaller ratio (e.g, 4:3)
- In Enhancements, you can set the internal resolution to go from 640×528 to even 4K; setting it to 1280×1056 (720p) will be more than enough for most games on a smartphone screen.
- Finally, in the Hacks submenu, we recommend activating all the parameters (placing the checkmark on the correspondent box) except for Defer EFB Copies to RAM.
Once again, remember to click on the floppy disk icon (on the right upper corner of the app) to save all the new parameters to the INI files. The final step is to click on the game icon displayed on the main menu and that´s it, you’re all set to start playing!
Bonus material: DraStic DS Emulator
Considered the best emulator of Nintendo DS, this paid application has proven to run smoothly as long as the minimum hardware and software requirements are fulfilled. If you have enough RAM and a decent Processor you´ll be fine.
To run it without crashes or excessive lag, the minimum requirements are a 1 GHz single core processor and at least 256 Mbytes of RAM.
After installing the app, the configuration procedure is similar to other emulators. First, place your Nintendo DS BIOS file in a directory that can be accessed from the DraStic DS browser.
Convert the game first to a BIOS file before adding it to the emulator.
Configuring the original two screen arrangement of the Nintendo DS is very straightforward using the app. DraStic DS allows you up to six screen layouts for emulating it all into one single screen.
For playing games that are not demanding in terms of graphics, you can just leave all the settings as they come by default.
And one last cool feature about DraStic DS is that you can connect an Android game controller like the MOGA Pro Mobile Gaming System to have a closer experience to what actually playing on your original DS is.
Just insert your smartphone on the attached case of the controller (or for some models just connect them using a USB to a-something-else cable) and set the DraStic DS to a full-screen window.
Before anything else, it is important to own the original copies of GameCubes video games before dumping them into ROMs. Most of them are copyrighted.
There are several emulators for GameCube but most of them run on a PC (either using Windows, MacOS or even Linux). To play on your Android smartphone, our word is final: Dolphin is the best emulator available so far.
Remember that all suggestions made in this article to configure the variety of settings Dolphin has, are not to be taken for granted. While some smartphones will do fine with them for some others you’ll need to make changes depending on the game you want to emulate.
A bit of trial and error might be needed before you start having fun with your all-time favorite video game without any crashing of the app. Perhaps you’ll also need to compromise a bit of resolution in order to get a better fps rate, an vice-versa. Just have fun with the settings selection as much as you would do with the game itself until you’ve come up with the configuration that’s best for you.
If you’re not in the mood for playing GameCube anymore, just remember: there’s still a wide range of emulators for other videogame consoles that you can choose from and that will keep you retro-ly entertained.
So, have you tried the Dolphin GameCube Emulator yet? Have comments, suggestions, and related questions? Do let us know in the comment section below!